Jones' putt wouldn't drop, and neither will the subject LPGA Championship notes


BETHESDA -- Rosie Jones knew what to expect when she showed up at Bethesda Country Club yesterday. Everyone would want to talk about last year.

Jones came to the 18th green on Sunday with a chance to tie Beth Daniel for the LPGA Championship. She still can see the 35-foot putt rim the cup, and stay out.

"I thought it was in," she said yesterday. "Since then, everyone keeps reminding me of that putt. I don't mind if they remember me by that. At least they remember.

"I finished a practice round awhile ago, and walking down the 18th fairway, remembering the emotion . . . it was quite a thrill."

She also recalled the triple-bogey 6 at the 16th hole in Saturday's round, a number that dropped her out of the lead.

Despite not winning last year (besides her solo second here, she tied for second in the Women's Kemper Open), Jones had her best financial season in a 10-year career, finishing sixth.

"I peaked here last year. That finish gave me a lot of confidence," she said.

In her past six events, she did not place below 21st, and had three top 10 finishes.

This season, Jones, 31, says she has been inconsistent. Although she has played 12 events without missing a cut, her finishes have ranged from a win at the Rochester International to a tie for 58th at the McDonald's Classic last week.

"It's been up and down, not very consistent. The Rochester win [her sixth on tour] was a surprise because I came from behind the last day [with a 6-under-par 66 to win by two].

"Walking around this golf course, I remember a lot of great shots I hit. Right now, I'm ready and able to win again."

Jane Geddes has been the only golfer on the tour able to win twice in the 18-event schedule.

* The pairing of Meg Mallon and Nancy Scranton won the four-hole shootout among five two-player teams and divided $4,700.

Mallon, 28, a five-year pro who won for the first time earlier this year, made a 15-foot birdie putt at the event's second hole, the only birdie of the competition, to collect the money.

* Dean Graves has no trouble associating with championship conditions at Bethesda CC. The course superintendent succeeded Tom Ragan just a month before the first Greater Washington Open three years ago.

"Tom came back from Arizona for the tournament and we got through it OK. Generally, the members are tougher and more critical than any tour staff," Graves said the other day.

"Actually, most of our work has been done. The only thing left is some cosmetic work around the greens."

There were signs of mild panic before last week's rainstorms provided just the right tonic. The fairways and greens were fine, but the rough was starting to get a little brown.

"The lack of rain earlier actually helped, because we were able to control the amount of water we put on the fairways and greens. And the thunderstorms helped thicken the rough," added Graves, 35, who had service at Baltimore CC and Kenwood CC before coming here.

* Tracy Kerdyk has withdrawn from the championship after breaking her right hand during last week's McDonald's tournament. The hand will be in a cast for 4-5 weeks. Janice Gibson will take her place.

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